July 1, 2021

Austin Bar and AYLA Presidents Announce Award Winners

Awards Were Presented at the End-of-Year Board Reception

The 2021 bar year came to a close on June 30, 2021.  An end-of-year board reception was held on that date to celebrate the conclusion of Austin Bar President Kennon Wooten and AYLA President David King’s terms of office.  Members of both boards of directors gathered at Hilgers House for a celebratory reception to honor the work that was accomplished during a year filled with unexpected challenges, many curveballs, and endless hours on Zoom. Having met virtually for over a year, the happy hour was the first time the board members were able to gather together in person – not only to look back at their many accomplishments –  but to look forward to the next bar year, under the leadership of Austin Bar President David Courreges and AYLA President Rachael K. Jones, whose terms begin on July 1, 2021.

In addition to celebrating the overall success of the year, both Wooten and King singled out a few well-deserving individuals to receive special awards.

Austin Bar Awards

Outstanding Committee Chair Award
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble is the Outstanding Committee Chair Award recipient for her leadership of the Austin Bar’s Equity Committee, which was formed at the beginning of the 2020-2021 bar year. Judge Gamble led with authenticity, passion, and purpose. Thanks to her leadership and vision, the Equity Committee had a successful year on the programming front and facilitated bridging efforts between the Austin Bar, on the one hand, and organizations and leaders within the broader Travis County community, on the other hand. (Judge Jessica Mangrum accepted the award on Judge Guerra Gamble’s behalf.)

Outstanding Director Award
Craig Moore is the recipient of the Outstanding Director Award for his thoughtful contributions to board discussions and his tireless work as a member of the Austin Bar’s newly formed Equity Committee. Throughout the bar year, Craig demonstrated that he has a gift of being able to communicate directly while also being a consensus-builder. In addition, he led the subcommittee that coordinated the Austin Bar’s inaugural Equity Summit, and he made invaluable contributions to that summit.

President’s Award
Amanda Arriaga is the recipient of the President’s Award for everything she did to make the bar year engaging, fun, and successful, even though the pandemic required remote meetings and operations this year. When the annual Bench Bar Conference had to be postponed, she teamed up with Justice Chari Kelly to coordinate Couch Bar—an engaging CLE event conducted via Zoom. Amanda also coordinated the first day-long remote CLE event geared toward government lawyers, and she teamed up with Mary-Ellen Wyatt and Elliott Beck to coordinate the first virtual Austin Bar Foundation gala, which was a huge success. Amanda also played a critical role in developing the Austin Bar’s first Equitable and Inclusive Vendor Policy, which will have meaningful impacts for many years to come.

AYLA Awards

Award of Merit
Cathy Garza is the recipient of the Award of Merit for her outstanding contribution to AYLA.  In addition to serving as a co-chair of the Austin Bar’s Equity Committee during its inaugural year, Cathy brought energy and ideas to each AYLA board meeting.  She also took part in organizing successful AYLA events, including a well-attended virtual cooking class that also served as a fundraiser for the organization.

Outstanding Director of the Year
Jenna Malsbury is the recipient of the Director of the Year award.  Jenna was an exemplary director, bringing passion and dedication to every project in which she participated.  Spearheading the MLK Day of Service, Jenna successfully organized an impressive number of volunteers to contribute time and resources to various Austin non-profits.  The event was a smashing success – and one that embodied AYLA’s mission of service to the community.

Committee Chair of the Year
Sarah Harp is the Committee Chair of the Year award recipient for her dedicated, innovative work as Chair of the Docket Call Committee.  Organizing monthly happy hours during a pandemic was no easy lift.  Remarkably, Sarah managed to coordinate a full calendar of interesting events – from movie night to trivia night – to keep AYLA’s members connected during a time of social distancing.

The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
Armin Salek is the recipient of the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. This award recognizes one young lawyer who has demonstrated professional proficiency, service to the profession, and service to the community.  Armin was also the recipient of the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas Award by the Texas Young Lawyers Association.


The Mentor Award
Ben Dower received the Mentor Award. This award recognizes one attorney who has consistently demonstrated a commitment to mentoring young lawyers in the legal community.